The campaign for fair funding from the BBC in the Midlands has stepped up a notch with a debate being held in Parliament.

Politicians, community and business leaders have expressed outrage at the publicly-funded broadcaster for re-investing just 8.5 per cent of the £942 million that Midland licence fee-payers invested last year.

A special Westminster Hall debate will be held next Tuesday on BBC investment levels – which work out at £12.40 per licence-fee payer in this region, compared to £757 in London.

It has been called by Mark Spencer, Conservative MP for Sherwood in Nottinghamshire, who previously told the Post the region was being “short-changed” by the state broadcaster.

Whereas the BBC reinvests about half or more of the money raised in every other UK region, it spends at less than a fifth of that level in the Midlands – which brings in more than a quarter of its income.

Speaking to the Post earlier this year , Mr Spencer said: “Clearly, we have been short-changed – and something needs to be done about it.

“We need to make sure we represent the East Midlands and ensure our voice is heard at the BBC like they do with other parts of the country, like Scotland. But we need to step up our game in the Midlands and make sure our voice is heard.”

The campaign’s day in Parliament comes after a series of high profile politicians joined industry leaders in backing the Post’s call for half of Midland revenue to be reinvested in the region.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Mayor of London Boris Johnson have both criticised present BBC levels of investment.

The campaign has also been supported by the majority of Birmingham’s MPs, as well as community leaders in Sandwell, Solihull, Derby, Leicester, Stoke-on-Trent, Coventry and Warwickshire.

The state broadcaster has pledged to act, including by shifting a tranche of roles, largely in HR to Birmingham.

In all, about 300 jobs will shift to the Mailbox – but that will fall well short of the Post’s demand for half of Midland licence fee expenditure to be re-invested in the region – which would bring in close to £400 million a year more than is presently invested.

Graphic about BBC spending
Graphic about BBC spending

A BBC spokesperson said 78 per cent of people in the Midlands say they approve of the BBC.

He added: “BBC Birmingham remains the home of the world’s most popular radio drama, The Archers, BBC Radio Four’s epic WW1 radio drama Home Front and popular BBC One shows like Doctors, Father Brown, WPC 56 and forthcoming drama The Coroner as well as digital network radio station, BBC Asian Network.

“Audiences in the Midlands also get 14 BBC Local Radio stations, BBC Midlands Today, BBC East Midlands Today and BBC Look East, as well as weekly current affairs and politics shows and websites delivering local news online.

“However, wherever they live, licence fee payers rightly expect us to operate efficiently.”